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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: House, Senate Republicans compete for cash | Former Playboy model free to speak about Trump | Trump allies reportedly worry Cohen will flip | Why Kim Jong Un's plane could be an obstacle to Trump summit | Where Trump, Kim could meet | Babies now allowed on Senate floor | What it was like on Southwest Flight 1380 | Cotton candy burritos


NEW HEADACHES FOR President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE

The Playboy problem -- former model is free to speak: 

A settlement was reached allows former Playboy model Karen McDougal to discuss her alleged affair with President TrumpDetails of the settlement: It "ends a lawsuit brought by the model, Karen McDougal, and protects the president from being drawn into a legal case involving efforts to buy the silence of women who had stories to tell about him during the 2016 campaign." Yeah, but: Trump still faces a legal battle with ex-porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels is fighting to get out a legal agreement with Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen to stay quiet.

The Cohen problem -- Loyalty, shmoyalty:

Via Politico's Darren Samuelsohn and Andrew Restuccia, "Two sources close to the president said people in Trump's inner circle have in recent days been actively discussing the possibility that Michael Cohen -- long seen as one of Trump's most loyal personal allies -- might flip if he faces serious charges as a result of his work on behalf of Trump." Keep in mind about Cohen: He's involved with the Russia investigation, but is also involved in a separate investigation over his business dealings.

NEW TIDBIT: Michael Cohen just dropped his libel lawsuits against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed.


The Haley problem — It's the Trump administration. The TRUMP administration.:

Via The Hill's Jordan FabianNikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job United Methodist churches may cut ties with denomination over push to allow LGBT ministers Nikki Haley: ‘I’m too young to stop fighting’ MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, had a public argument with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow over proposed Russia sanctions. But the spat underscored Trump world's obsession with top aide's political ambitions. Why this is big: "It is virtually unheard of for administration officials to openly discuss their political futures, and Haley, who is widely seen as a present and future GOP star, has not said anything significant about running for a higher political office. Nonetheless, the comments had Trump allies saying that Haley is thinking too much of her own political brand."


It's Thursday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.



A Delta flight returns after small engine fire:

Via Sky News, a Delta flight returned to Atlanta 30 minutes into its trip to London after a small fire was seen in the engine. "Firefighters at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the city, doused the plane's engine, and the airport confirmed there were no injuries." Watch:



'Whenever, wherever, we're meant to [meet] together':


Via The New York Times's Ali Watkins, "Of all the obstacles to the potential summit meeting between President Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, just getting there could prove the most turbulent." Why: "It is unclear whether Mr. Kim's fleet of Soviet-era planes can fly him more than a few thousand miles from North Korea." That sounds terrifyingKeep in mind: Kim hasn't flown outside of North Korea since he took office. He could borrow a plane, "but not without a significant dent to his well-established hubris."

TOP LOCATION OPTIONS: Sweden, Switzerland, China, Mongolia and the demilitarized zone are a few options. Pros and cons of each:



Senate Republicans: 'Where is the love?':

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, the Republican National Committee's (RNC) midterm plan has sparked grumbles in the Senate over whether it puts too much of an emphasis on saving the House majority. What sparked this aggravation: An Associated Press story highlighting the party's plan to raise and spend $250 million on a GOP midterm protection plan, and quoting RNC Political Director Juston Johnson as saying, "Our No. 1 priority is keeping the House. We have to win the House."

IN THE SPEAKER RACE: Via The Hill's Scott Wong, "Here's a twist: Some congressional Republicans say it's possible neither Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCongress allows Violence Against Women Act to lapse Mandatory E-Verify: The other border wall Bret Stephens: Would love to see Hannity react when Dem declares climate change emergency MORE (R-Calif.) nor Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Texas man with politician hit list, illegally 3D printed rifle sentenced to eight years The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? MORE (R-La.) will be serving in House leadership after the November midterm elections." Why: A group of roughly 30 conservatives want a fresh leadership team. Keep in mind: That group could prevent McCarthy or Scalise from reaching the 218 necessary votes.

KEEP IN MIND: The Hill's Morning Report on the harrowing election data for Republicans: "More than three-dozen GOP lawmakers have opted to retire, rather than seek re-election. Democrats only need to flip 23 seats to take back the House."



Newspaper layoffs:

Via The Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Tampa Bay Times is laying off around 50 people after the new tariffs President Trump imposed. Why: The tariffs increased the cost of newsprint. The newspaper's CEO said the tariffs could cost an additional $3 million. The layoffs: A spokeswoman "declined to specify how many of those layoffs would affect the newsroom, saying only that the 'cuts are taking place throughout the organization.' "



C-SPAN just gained a new star:

The Senate passed a resolution allowing Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Dem senator thinks Senate may be able to block emergency declaration Trump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies MORE (D-Ill.) -- the first senator to give birth while in office -- to bring her baby onto the floor. Details: It allows Duckworth, or any other senator, to bring a child younger than one year of age onto the floor during votes. The chamber cleared the resolution by unanimous consent.

BEST REACTION -- Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio in Colombia to push for delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE STEALING THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) commented on the resolution. "Why would I object to it? We have plenty of babies on the floor."


Welcome to America!!!!:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joked that he had two (!) lunches with President Trump yesterday, including a cheeseburger on the president's golf course.


What it was like to be on Southwest Flight 1380 -- yikes:

Via The New York Times's Jack Healy and Christine Hauser, here's what it was like to be on the Southwest flight with an engine that exploded. "With no apparent warning, the plane's left engine exploded after one of its fan blades broke off. A gust of shrapnel blew out a window, partly sucking one passenger in Row 14 headfirst into the sky. Oxygen masks dropped down and the plane plunged thousands of feet in a minute." Passengers describe those minutes:


Another member of Congress on the personal toll of the opioids crisis:


Via The Hill's Rachael Roubein, Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.) opened up about her brother's struggle with opioids. "You deal with trust issues in the family. We didn't know whether to trust him. I can remember so many phone calls just wanting to believe what he was saying, and then the evidence [of opioid misuse] would prove otherwise."



This is too real:


23 years ago today:


Oh wow:



The Senate is in. The House is out. 

Tidbit: Via The Washington Examiner's David M. Drucker, "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season Trump: McConnell should keep Senate in session until nominees are approved MORE, R-Ky., could seek to hold the Senate in session longer each week to keep vulnerable incumbent Democrats off the campaign trail."

Noon: President Trump arrives in Key West, Fla., from his Mar-a-Lago resort.

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has a briefing with Joint Interagency Task Force-South, Northcom and Southcom. He then heads back to his Mar-a-Lago resort.

1:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate has a confirmation vote on James Bridenstine as NASA administrator. The Senate's full schedule today:

2 p.m. EDT: The Brookings Institution is hosting an event on education in Africa. Details:

2:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence meets with German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz in the White House.

Friday: Former first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose at St. Martin's Church in Houston. Details:

Saturday: A private funeral for former first lady Barbara Bush in Houston. Details:

Monday: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents MORE's nomination to lead the State Department. Details: 

Op-ed from a former State Department adviser on Pompeo's trip to North Korea and what it means for his confirmation.


May 9: Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonTrump donates 0,000 from salary to alcoholism research White House announces reduced delegation to travel to Davos amid shutdown ‘We Can Do It!’: Women and bipartisanship MORE and Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Baseball legend Frank Robinson, first black manager in MLB, dies at 83 Biden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report MORE (D-Md.) speak at an event hosted by The Hill on small businesses. Details and full list of speakers:



4 p.m. EDT: CNN's Jake Tapper interviews former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE

10 a.m. EDT Friday: Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson speaks at an American Enterprise Institute event. Livestream:



Today is National Rice Ball Day.


When you've hit 'cotton candy burrito,' you've gone too far:

Cotton candy burritos are now a thing. Video -- even I wouldn't eat this:


Slowly starts humming, 'I'm proud to be an American...':

Via The New York Post, "The average American utters their first curse word of the day at 10:54 am, according to new data."


And because you read this far, here's a cat that hates its birthday: